I have debated writing this post, and I am glad I didn’t write a few hours ago. I have considered ignoring this stranger’s comment, and have been advised by some to do so. However, I am sharing it, and sharing how I feel about for two reasons:
- To prove that people do say the most ridiculous/hurtful things to caregivers like us
- Because if none of us say anything, nothing changes. Sure, we find another store to shop in, somewhere else to eat, a different park to play in, and new activity class. But that doesn’t really solve the problem, and it makes us feel more isolated.
Backstory: About a week ago a Huffington Post article popped up on my news feed on FaceBook about a wonderful photographer, Mikaela Bodkin, and her project “Fed is Best”. The project is meant to show that it doesn’t matter if you bottle or breastfeed your child, fed is best. I made a comment (something I almost never do) saying:
“This is great, but I wish there were also tube fed children. My baby couldn’t eat and I felt like such a failure that she needed a feeding tube (still does at almost 2). Also, I know a lot of people who have been accused of being lazy because their child is tube fed. No matter how it happens, fed is best.”
I honestly left it at that and didn’t think about it… until today.
This evening, just before Lyra’s bedtime I got a little notice that there was a response to my comment. Honestly, I wasn’t prepared for what I saw:
“Fine do what you choose. Which means in public don’t say crap to a mom breastfeeding. Don’t ask her when she’s gonna wean don’t suggest she cover. Don’t do it. I’m so sick of FF moms screaming don’t judge me then turning around shaming and humiliating people for breastfeeding. Smh!”
Oh the feels I had.
At first, I was really mad that someone would assume I would criticize them for breastfeeding in public. First, I never said anything negative in my post about breastfeeding at all. In fact, I didn’t even mention it. Second, anyone who knows me knows that I have no issues with boobs (mine or anyone else’s). We’ve all got them is various shapes and sizes. Really, they aren’t that big of a deal. Also, when I was pumping for Lyra I had sense of humor about it. I was devastated that I couldn’t breastfeed, so I pumped. And I had a timer… a cow timer… that said “moo” when I was done. A good laugh was had by all.
Then it hit me. I wasn’t really mad about the breastfeeding thing. Was it annoying and rude? Absolutely. But that wasn’t the part of her comment that made me want to explode.
“Fine do what you choose.”
ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME LADY?!?
This was not a choice! My husband and I didn’t sit in our birthing class going, “Bottle? Breast? Ah hell, we will just have a doctor put in a tube!” No. If I had a choice, I wouldn’t chosen to shove a tube down my 3 month old’s nose, or put her through surgery to have one stuck in her stomach. Are you serious? Did you think before you typed that?
Some have asked if maybe it wasn’t directed towards me, and maybe she just made a mistake. For those of you who have hunted down the thread on FaceBook, you know by other comments that her response was directed at me. Some other wonderful people also tried to explain to this person that the tube is not a choice, but a medical necessity. The woman didn’t get it.
We always strive to educate the ignorant, but you can’t change stupid.
While we weren’t able to teach this woman why her words were so hurtful, or educate her on feeding tubes, I hope that others can learn from her carelessness. Her words had power, and so do yours. So choose wisely. I tried to do so when I made my original comment. I didn’t pick a side or make a comment on the quality of someone’s parenting. I simply pointed out that bottle and breast are not the only two ways babies are fed, and I wished mine had been represented. To those who came to my defense, your words had power too. And in the end, your words made all the difference.